btrsktch Posted 19 Sep 2012 , 8:33pm
post #1 of

I just had a *horrible* tasting consultation with a bride, groom, the bride's friend and a nightmare planner. Obviously, I'm not going to book with them as not only did the appointment run over by 2 hours (thankfully, it was my last of the day!), I couldn't even get a design idea going that fit in the budget.

The planner completely interrupted every time I asked a question. She spoke FOR the groom even though he was sitting right there, and made it completely impossible for me to come together with a design that was something they both could like. I tried bringing out the magazines and having them flip through it. The original designs they had were out of their budget and I couldn't determine any budget friendly options for them because of the planner. The groom was in one direction and the bride in another - and she spoke over both of them. She even had the audacity to demand a military discount - even though SHE was the one with a "relative" in the military!

Any advice on how to better handle an overbearing planner who swears that THEY and only THEY know best for their client? Or do you just write it off every time you come across one and move on?

27 replies
BakingIrene Posted 19 Sep 2012 , 8:57pm
post #2 of

Well, you certainly put this crappy planner into your little list...so when somebody else mentions that they have a wedding planner, you ask who is their planner? and then you can claim to be "all booked up" if they are using this one.

Wasting multiple peoples time like that should also get a short answer right then and there: When the appointment has run a full hour over, you say so. You say to the bridal couple, "I'm sorry to waste any more of your timer, here's my business card" and walk out of the room.

I have been answering business-to-business telemarketing calls like that. It feels right to say slowly and calmly and clearly, " I don't want to waste your time, we will not use your service, please do not call again" and hang up.

vgcea Posted 19 Sep 2012 , 10:16pm
post #3 of

You have to take control of your consultation session. Some tips I would suggest for an overbearing person:

When she interrupts, stop what you're saying, put down whatever you're holding (magazine, whatever) and just stare at her. No response. When she's done speaking. Pause for a few seconds, just enough to make her uncomfortable, then ask, "Are you done speaking? I do not want to interrupt you in the middle of expressing your idea/opinion." And go right back to what you were saying to address the couple.

If she raised a valid point during the interruption either give a short answer or state that it will be addressed at a specific point in the conversation. More interruption, more silent stare and back to where you were with the couple. I believe it's called Extinction in behavioral psychology. Ignoring the urge to reinforce a behavior till the subject realizes, interrupting isn't going to get her idea acknowledged.

You asked the groom a question and she answered? Turn back to the groom and ask him the question again to get his response.

I'm not the most patient person, and I'm sure if I had that experience, after 2 hours of getting nowhere, I would not hesitate to inform the planner that I expect responses from the couple and when I need planner-specific information, I would direct the conversation to her.

costumeczar Posted 19 Sep 2012 , 10:59pm
post #4 of

I tell planners that my client is the bride and groom, not them. If they come and try to take over the appointment (and that's happened to me too) you just have to address everything to the bride and groom. Some people are more obnoxious than others though, so if they're being rude then you might just have to tell them that you need to hear the couples' opinion. Or whenever she says something, turn to the bride and groom and say "Is that right?"

If people are really taking a lot longer than they should you need to just tell them that you need to wrap it up and do they have any more questions? If they haven't gotten to the design at all, tell them that you'll have to think about what they've told you so far and you'll get back to them. Then email the bride and groom and not the planner.

I've had planners tell me that they're the only contact for the couple, and that I can't have their email address or phone number, and that they'll handle all of the contracts. I tell them that I don't work that way, so I can't help their client. My assumption with people like that is that they're marking up the contracts and adding fees on to them to get more money from the client. I won't work with people who do that, they can go pound sand.

AZCouture Posted 19 Sep 2012 , 11:19pm
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

Well, you certainly put this crappy planner into your little list...


Oh I have one of those lists, and although it is a very short list, a planner is right there in the Numero Uno spot. Creeps me out just thinking of her. tapedshut.gif

AZCouture Posted 19 Sep 2012 , 11:21pm
post #6 of

And yes, to echo other sentiments, I work for the bride and the groom, not some middle man. And a ditto to everything Costume said.

costumeczar Posted 19 Sep 2012 , 11:28pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

And yes, to echo other sentiments, I work for the bride and the groom, not some middle man. And a ditto to everything Costume said.




You're allowed to use my real name, har de har har har! Although people would probably be confused.

AZCouture Posted 19 Sep 2012 , 11:28pm
post #8 of

Okie dokie....Fred.

btrsktch Posted 19 Sep 2012 , 11:31pm
post #9 of

Thanks!!!

As a small token of trying to salvage this, I reached out directly to the bride and asked if she and the groom would be willing to meet with me again to re-discuss their needs for a wedding cake.

The planner calls me back and says that it was unprofessional of me to contact HER clients to ask them to meet me without her present. icon_eek.gif

Off to start that list!

AZCouture Posted 19 Sep 2012 , 11:34pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by btrsktch

Thanks!!!

As a small token of trying to salvage this, I reached out directly to the bride and asked if she and the groom would be willing to meet with me again to re-discuss their needs for a wedding cake.

The planner calls me back and says that it was unprofessional of me to contact HER clients to ask them to meet me without her present. icon_eek.gif

Off to start that list!


icon_mad.gif What a piece of work.

AZCouture Posted 19 Sep 2012 , 11:40pm

I just now noticed the two hour part. Holy hell, what takes two hours?!?!

Occther Posted 19 Sep 2012 , 11:47pm

Sorry - but I got a chuckle out of this. I only do about 2 to 3 wedding cakes a year - just for friends or family. Recently, had my first wedding planner experience. Bride showed up - very attractively, neatly dressed. Wedding planner shows up in dirty jeans, wrinkled t-shirt and hair all messed up (looked like she had just rolled out of bed.) Brought along her bratty 3 year son who wanted to handle everything in my house (my home is not kid proofed - since I don't have children or grandchildren.) Planner was on her cell phone during the entire consultation. Delivered the cake this past Saturday. The photographer had similar comments about the planner!! What a waste of money for the bride. Yea - I may put her name on my list!!

costumeczar Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 12:04am
Quote:
Originally Posted by btrsktch

Thanks!!!

As a small token of trying to salvage this, I reached out directly to the bride and asked if she and the groom would be willing to meet with me again to re-discuss their needs for a wedding cake.

The planner calls me back and says that it was unprofessional of me to contact HER clients to ask them to meet me without her present. icon_eek.gif


Off to start that list!




Yep, this is probably someone who doesn't know what she's doing. I've found that the newer planners who think they're super cool are the most obnoxious about that kind of thing, She's one who I'd tell that the client isn't her, and I need to speak to the bride, not to her. Then I'd call the bride and tell her that because the planner was being so difficult that I wouldn't be able to help her with her cake.

SweetTzippy Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 12:05am

I spent over 3 hrs earlier this summer with bride and her mother. They wanted an original cake that I was eager to make, plus do all the sweet table desserts for the bridal shower... MOB said they would have to run by the planner (who was not available to meet that day). I received 20+ phone calls from that planner the following days.... She wanted me to considerably reduce all costs and made absurd demands. I called MOB and said I would not deal with that woman.
She is definitely on my 'black' list!

JaniceBest Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 12:11am

Uh, oh. I have a consultation next weekend. The bride told me her planner insisted on coming, along with her mother, future MIL, and her BFF. Am I in trouble?

costumeczar Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 12:13am
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaniceBest

Uh, oh. I have a consultation next weekend. The bride told me her planner insisted on coming, along with her mother, future MIL, and her BFF. Am I in trouble?




yes icon_rolleyes.gif

I'd make sure you set a time limit on this, because the more people the more opinions, and they all think that they're there to get the full wedding experience and you're their cake servant.

BakingIrene Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 12:19am
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaniceBest

Uh, oh. I have a consultation next weekend. The bride told me her planner insisted on coming, along with her mother, future MIL, and her BFF. Am I in trouble?




Well, ask the bride for a shortlist of her preferences. See if she can email you pics or info ahead of her meeting.

And you are forewarned. Don't let the planner run the meeting. The mothers may also have some strong ideas, so you may have to remember to say "this is the BRIDE'S day" in the face of people who say "I'm paying therefore I will dictate the cake".

If any planner ever called me to insist on my lowering prices, I would say that I expect to hear from the bride that the planner has cut the fees for her own services by the same amount...or else threaten to report her to the local employment department for paying less than minimum wage...

lilmissbakesalot Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 12:32am

When brides-to-be let on that they want that many people at their tasting I have no problem telling them that too many cooks will spoil the pot. I do so nicely, but more to assure her that this is her day and that she needs to really think about it and if they will make things easier or more difficult. I have had wonderful experiences where the couple brought mothers and planners, but more often than not it is a train wreck.

I limit the tasting to the bride and groom and charge for extra plates... this helps.

AZCouture Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 12:49am

Hey it could work out fine. Who knows, maybe *this* planner is a great one who knows to sit back and advise when necessary, take notes, and generally empower the vendor to do their thing. What a concept!

lilmissbakesalot Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 12:59am

I have a couple planners who are like that. One whom I would like to clone and send to all of my friends... LOL. She is AMAZING. Every detail is taken care of without ego or grief... she has pantone swatches for colors... she is adorable and bubbly without being annoying (heheheh)... now if they could only all be this way... *le sigh*

btrsktch Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 1:04am

You guys definitely helped me alot because I was on the verge of sending another reply about how SHE is not the client. Now I'll just let it go and get tighter about my schedule and such next time. I LOVE the one to just look at her while she is talking and then pause when she is done. Classic!

BlakesCakes Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 3:18am
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaniceBest

Uh, oh. I have a consultation next weekend. The bride told me her planner insisted on coming, along with her mother, future MIL, and her BFF. Am I in trouble?




icon_eek.gif YES!!! 5 women trying to agree on a cake--won't happen.

It's definitely in your best interests to nip this in the bud. You can tell the bride that based on limited space, time, and samples, tasting is available for no more than 2,3, or 4 people (whichever you prefer--3 would allow for the bride, planner, and MOB) and that for $XX you'll provide a take away box of some samples for them to share with others).

The more people, the longer the appointment and the less that will get accomplished.

Don't have any more chairs/seating than what you need so that "extras" have to stand---bet it'll go faster...................

Good luck.
Rae

Godot Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 4:38am

Take control of the situation now or you'll reget it later. I've been doing wedding cakes for 15 years and have learned a little!

I always start with an e-mail, saying we can only accomodate two persons (bride and groom, or bride and mother, or groom and friend -- I don't care who comes, but no more than two), and if the couple have children they need to organize a sitter because we can't possibly accomodate children ( and we don't want to, either). The more people who are involved with the decision-making process the longer it takes. Count on about a half an hour-forty-five minutes extra for each extra person at the consultation.

I tell them I have booked them for 1½ hours and that I have another consultation directly after (whether I do or not - it helps to hurry them up).

I ask them to please have an idea as to the style of cake they want, fun and colorful, or classic white, or whatever. i also ask the to bring along any pictures of cakes or cake details they like, color samples, any reception details or dress photos.

Good luck!

vgcea Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 4:57am

I like the ideas in this thread: keep the number of people to a minimum (2-3) and if the client wants more people to sample the cakes, arrange for them to purchase a sample box for them to take home to the 900 other people who want to taste the cakes. Sounds good.

costumeczar Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 10:31am

Heck, I give them half an hour and only three people max.

3D-Sweets Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 1:39pm

JaniceBest, Not necessarily. Welcome both the bride and the planner graciously, then simply tell them - while smiling - that you make contracts with the bride, and that your questions will be directed to the bride. If the bride asks the planner's opinion that's fine; but since it's her contract the bride has the final say. Managing expectations, politely when possible, is the key.

SweetTzippy Posted 20 Sep 2012 , 5:19pm

[quote="costumeczar"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaniceBest

the more people the more opinions, and they all think that they're there to get the full wedding experience and you're their cake servant.




"cake servant?" LOL icon_lol.gif

johnson6ofus Posted 22 Sep 2012 , 6:41am

And make sure you have a friend or hubby call exactly 1 hour into the meeting. "Oh sorry. This is a call I have been waiting for and I scheduled this as a 1 hour meeting...." , you announce to your tasting group as you answer the call. Then, so all can overhear, "We are just wrapping up here, and I will be able to take care of that right away....". Friend or hubby calls back 10 minutes later to be sure you got rid of them, and with you answering the call with, "Yes. I understand.... blah, blah, blah...." Hubby calls back every 10 minutes or so until I let him know, "coast is clear...".

I know. I am a wimp. But it sure does help wrap things up when I have to....

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